DETERMINATION OF PHTHALATE METABOLITES IN WASTEWATER: AN APPROACH TO ESTIMATE HUMAN EXPOSURE TO PHTHALATES

 

J.B. Quintana, I. González-Mariño, R. Rodil, I. Barrio, R. Cela
University of Santiago de Compostela, Institute for Food Analysis and Research, Department of Analytical Chemistry, Nutrition and Food Sciences, Constantino Candeira S/N, 15782 – Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Phthalates, diesters of the phthalic acid, are used worldwide as plasticizers in household, textile and personal-care products, toys and food packages. As a result, they are continuously introduced in the human body, where they are metabolized to the corresponding monoesters and then other oxidized forms (from herein PMs, phthalate metabolites), and excreted in urine. PMs urinary levels have been frequently used in biomonitoring campaigns to assess human exposure to phthalates. Alternatively, applying wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) principles, which have been now extensively used to measure drug abuse in local populations, PM concentrations in sewage could be converted into estimations of phthalate exposure in a specific population. With this aim, this study shows a new analytical method for the simultaneous quantification of nine PMs in raw wastewater by solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. PM stability and their putative formation from parent phthalates occurring in sewage were evaluated in detail. Finally, several 24-h composite influent wastewater samples were extracted and analyzed, so that PM loads (µg/day·inhabitant) were back-calculated. These values were converted into i) concentrations in urine from a single individual (µg/L), to be compared with PM urinary levels reported in literature; and ii) population exposure to phthalates (µg of the corresponding phthalate/day·inhabitant).

Acknowledgements: this work was funded by MINECO (JPIW2013‐117 via Water JPI Pilot Call), Xunta de Galicia (EM2012/055, “Consolidación” and IGM postdoctoral contract) and EDRF funds.

 

José Benito Quintana

José Benito Quintana obtained his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry in 2004 (University of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain). Afterwards, he became a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Water Quality Control of the Technical University of Berlin (Germany) for almost two years. Then he was a research scientist at the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the University of A Coruña (Galicia, Spain) until March 2008, when he moved back to the Department of Analytical Chemistry, Nutrition and Food Sciences of the University of Santiago de Compostela, firstly with a “Ramón y Cajal” senior researcher position and, since 2013, as Associate Professor.

His research is focused mostly on: 1) the determination of emerging pollutants in water and the marine environment (including shellfish) by gas or liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry, with emphasis in high-resolution mass spectrometry; 2) study of the fate of those pollutants and their transformation in the environment and during water treatment; and 3) wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE), i.e. correlating wastewater concentrations of different metabolites and biomarkers with the consumption and/or exposure to chemicals, for instance the determination of local drug abuse consumption patterns. He has published more than 70 papers in international journals and 5 book chapters in the fields of environmental and analytical chemistry.